Sometimes it’s not a matter of the amount you win as much as when you win it and how. In many cases it may be better to be exceptional in just a few events than very good in all of them.
From a pure publicity standpoint, the schedule could not have set up any better for Seth Feider. While he didn’t make the Classic through the Elites, and earned checks in slightly less than half of the events, he peaked at the right time. From a monetary standpoint, he might not have benefited, especially since the tournament that he won had no payout of its own, but if he goes on to a long career in the sport, the sheer amount of publicity he received over the past month will be worth more than what’s currently reflected in his checking account.
That’s not entirely obvious at first. Feider earned checks in four of nine regular season Elite events, for a total of $56,000 in winnings and (after his win at Mille Lacs) a 47th place finish in the AOY standings worth an additional $12,500, for a total of $68,500, not including any sponsor bonuses he might have received for winning.
If he’d finished 30th in every event throughout the year (including Mille Lacs), he would’ve totaled $90 grand in the regular season, and would have slotted into a 22nd place finish in the final standings, worth an additional $14,000. He would’ve also been guaranteed at least $10,000 for making his first Classic. That comes to a total of $114,000, not including any sponsor bonuses he might have received for a Classic berth.
Obviously, $114,000 is greater than $68,500, and making the Classic is far, far better than not making it. But if you’re not going to make it, you’ve got to make the most of what you have, and that’s what Feider did. Not only did he get a ridiculous amount of coverage on BASS Live, but he’ll also get it on the Bassmaster TV show. He got eight straight competition days of maximum coverage on all of the bassworld websites, and it came as we enter a dead period in the fishing world – so rather than being erased by the next event it will continue to sit in our collective consciousness. Most importantly, he became a fan favorite. If he’d finished in the money but not the top 12 in every event over the course of the year, most fishing fans would still have no idea who Seth Feider is, but because he finished strong, with a compelling story and a vocal (and easily identifiable) set of fans, he got the kind of publicity that you can’t buy off the rack. Will it make up for the $45,500 difference in my hypothetical scenario? That remains to be seen, but it’s not a bad consolation prize.